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Air Force Captain

O-3 Commissioned Officer, U.S. Air Force
(Next) O-4 MajAir Force Major

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How to get promoted to Captain History of the Air Force Captain Rank

A Captain is a Commissioned Officer in the United States Air Force at DoD paygrade O-3.

The origins of captain in the American military can be traced back to the Revolutionary war. The responsibilities for captains back then are quite similar to the ones today. Captains back then were offered the rank from a colonel and it was only offered to top quality lieutenants. Captains were responsible for a company of soldiers similar to how they are flight commanders today. However, once a campaign was over, a captain could lose his commission and return to a lieutenant.

It was not uncommon for captains to also be a regiment commander during the early American military. In battles where high casualties were suffered, a captain would take command of the forces for the rest of the campaign.

Want to learn more? Read about the Air Force's Captain rank on

History of the Air Force

The Air Force was founded in 1947, just after WWII. It was created using most of the existing Army Air Corps that had just made significant contributions to the war effort. The Air Force is the most technological of the branches, as well as the "most business-like" (least strict). There is a general concensus in the military that quality of life for servicemembers in the Air Force is highest. Just as the Army fights land wars and the Navy fights sea wars, the Air Force was originally envisioned to fight air wars. While wars in the past 70 years couldn't be fought with aircraft alone, the age of Drones and Artificial Intelligence may cause a paradigm shift where air-only wars are possible.